India to expand disability protections

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This is photograph of a dusty India street scene with street being made of dirt and many walking and riding bkes.

India Street Scene

In pursuit of compliance with its United Nations obligations, an Indian committee designed to expand protections for Indians with disabilities has submitted a final draft of a potential overhaul of the nation’s disability laws.

The proposed law would create a variety of new medical protection measures. Specifically, it would impose a maximum seven-year prison sentence for any individual who sterilizes an individual with disabilities without the person’s consent. It would also criminalize forcible abortions of people with disabilities and work to ensure equal access to family and reproductive planning services, according to an article in The Hindu.

Access to political participation is another focal point of the legislation. If approved by the country’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, it will guarantee that no can be denied voting rights because of their disability and that voting stations are accessible to people with disabilities.

Protections for people with disabilities to use service animals  in public areas, such as roads and transportation systems, are also included.

The new legislation, “The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2011,” represents the recommendations of a committee created by the India’s Ministry of Social Welfare in 2010 to replace the country’s Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995.

Indian is one of more than 100 countries that has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty created in 2006 for the purpose of providing equal opportunities for people with disabilities worldwide.